World Pandemic: every little mask helps.

I celebrated my 60th Birthday in April 2020 , whatever I may have had planned for the day I never imagined I would spend it in quarantine, sewing.

wear wear a mask for everyone's sake
flowery fabric face masks

I celebrated my 60th Birthday in April 2020 , whatever I may have had planned for the day I never imagined I would spend it in quarantine, sewing.

 I spent the day making face masks. Yes I know, there is little scientific evidence that they are an effective preventative or protective measure but nevertheless if it makes the wearer a bit safer and others around them be a bit safer then it’s a good thing, and we should be happy to wear them for everyone’s sake.

face mask kit
I bought a kit to save time

 I founds so many patterns, so much advice, but I took the simplest route, I bought a kit from my local fabric shop, Fabrix; https://fabrixlancaster.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/FabrixLancaster

 The kit gave enough materials to make 9 masks . I requested it via fb, paid by BACS payment and it arrived within a couple of days. Wonderful, if we weren’t in lockdown, I’d probably have just planned to go to the shop the following weekend, and then forgot all about it. I rather like shopping on line in my pajamas.

all kit parts shown
This is so easy, seriously.

This is a really simple mask, anyone could have a go, it’s made of 3 layers, a coloured fabric for the front, a plain fabric for the back and a thin Vilene lining.  On the first three masks I made I followed the pattern when it came to the placing of the tucks, so they appeared loosely equidistant on the finished mask, but found it difficult to place them. I fiddled around for ages trying to get them looking equal.

 Then I saw a tutorial for a similar shaped mask, where the mask was pressed in half, and then each half in half again, then used the press lines as a guide. Which means the folds fall lower on the mask but are more easily equally spaced.  It works just as well, and takes a heck of a lot less time to complete.

non-flowery mask
first 3 done for my Beloved

My beloved is happy to wear the non-flowery ones, he has 3, I managed to make 9 out of the fabric provided, so I kept two for myself, gifted two each to my sister and niece. Now I need to find a different material to make masks for my nephew and stepson, and maybe a different mask pattern. I like the one I saw on Peter Lappin’s instagram post, https://www.instagram.com/peterlappin a free PDF from @dhuratadavies.  I think if I can find a bandana I have somewhere I’ll try this pattern, it’s possibly a fabric young men might swallow rather flowery fabrics from my stash. Possibly. Although somehow I find its difficult to get the young to understand the risks and comply. So many have died and still we see people not wanting to take reasonable precautions.

wear wear a mask for everyone's sake
flowery fabric face masks

I wear these masks frequently, they are much more comfotable than the paper surgical masks, I wash them with the towels on a hot wash, and iron them on a hot. setting.

Bigger slippers

I love being able to mend and customise, fix my mistakes, and make something usable out of left over scraps from another project, retrieve the torn and damaged, create something usable out of what otherwise would be thrown away.

So what do you do when you have bought things for Christmas which turn out to be the wrong size? I recently had two such mistakes to solve, I bought my Dad a pair of soft jersey pants, which he finds comfortable to wear at leisure, but they had cuffs at the ankle and were too long, not a good look. Saggy grey cotton jersey doesn’t really suit anyone, no matter how old. I cut the cuffs off and finished the raw edge with an overlock stitch and double stitched hem. Problem solved, pants no longer sagging in the legs.

bigger slippers
we need bigger slippers

The next problem was a bit more difficult to solve, a pair of soft fleece slippers for the 14 year old. To me he’s still a boy, I keep forgetting how big he has grown, he is taller than me and his feet are larger than his dad’s, so how I managed to think Medium sized slippers would fit I don’t know! He likes his slippers, and wants to wear them but they are a tad too small, and although stretchy, not quite stretchy enough, so what to do? Make bigger slippers. Yes but what with? I was considering what I had which I could use to build an extension for the 14 year old’s toes, when I saw the cuffs I’d cut off Dad’s pants sitting on my sewing table, perfect colour, now how?

bigger slippers
problem solved, bigger slippers.

I cut one cuff along the seam and then cut it in half, each half was stitched along the two short edges to create a little pocket, then I opened up the toe of the slipper peeled back the fluffy faux lamb’s wool lining and stitched the little grey jersey pockets to the outside fabric. The lining was then hand stitched back into place covering the seam allowance so the lining is held in place and the seam hopefully will sit under the toes, where the toes meet the ball of the foot, and won’t be too uncomfortable.
They may look rather silly, but it worked, it solved the problem and the 14 year old tells me they are comfortable and a much better fit, of course the acid test is, does he wear his Bigger Slippers? Yes he does. I thought asking him to model them was pushing my luck too far, he would probably have a fit if he saw this post, so Sshh.
I love sewing, I love being able to mend and customise, fix my mistakes, and make something usable out of left over scraps from another project, retrieve the torn and damaged, create something usable out of what otherwise would be thrown away.

To finish those stockings

I hit another snag, the mark didn’t show at all on the green fabric. Work came to a full stop again. Till I worked out that if I put the gold thread on the bottom bobbin and marked the quilting out on the lining, I could achieve the result I wanted, problem solved.

which fabric?

I wanted to make a swing tag for each stocking. A gold initial on a swing tag to hang from each one. I’d originally planned to put the initial on the red material of the stocking but realised it would not work visually; the material is too busy and the initial would not be well defined, so I chose the green fabric.

Font: Hobo

I chose a simple font, this is Hobo, which is chunky and nicely shaped without any difficult to cut out narrow bits which would have made appliqué complicated. I enlarged the font in bold, and traced the initials onto bondaweb (if you are going to do this do it rough side up or print off a reversed initial, or your finished initial will be the wrong way round).

bondaweb on gold tissue

I ironed the bondaweb onto some gold tissue fabric, cut out, peeled off and ironed into the green fabric. If this swing tag was likely to be washed I’d consider some stitching round the edge to keep it in place but I don’t think it will be necessary.

quilting design

To quilt my stockings I was struggling to find a suitable quilting pattern, I’d initially thought of using a holly and berry pattern I already had but it wasn’t right, then looking at the green fabric I realised throughout all the co-ordinating fabrics there were 5 pointed stars. Coincidentally I’d just bought a set of star cookie cutters. I drew round the 5 star cutters onto cardboard, the points were a little rounded which I didn’t want, so I cut them out sharper. I used the smallest star along the top edge of the stocking, the middle size down the sides of the panels, and all 5 size stars on the foot of the stocking.
Next problem! I planned to use an air erasable pen to mark the shapes onto the stocking, but in the bright sunshine streaming into the room, the mark was disappearing before I could stitch the stars. I gave up, and found something else to do till it went dark.
Then moving on to the foot of the stocking, I hit another snag, the mark didn’t show at all on the green fabric. Work came to a full stop again. Till I worked out that if I put the gold thread on the bottom bobbin and marked the quilting out on the lining, I could achieve the result I wanted, problem solved.